by Marty Comer, pastor
Sand Ridge Baptist Church,
As a Baptist, I’m not a big fan of the idea of toleration. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the concept of freedom. In America today there is much talk about toleration. I want to propose to you that the focus on toleration is a misguided, and even dangerous, focus.
Those early Baptists who were living out their understanding of the Christian faith in England in the 17th century experienced firsthand the dangers of toleration. They learned that toleration demanded that someone be the one who tolerates while others were the ones who were tolerated. And it is no fun to simply be tolerated when the one who is doing the tolerating can change their mind about tolerating you.
John Smyth and Thomas Helwys led a group of Christians who were worshiping at Gainsborough in England…. King James I had the power to tolerate dissent but chose not to do so. Several members of the group were arrested for not conforming to Anglican beliefs. Thus, Smyth and Helwys led their group into exile in Holland, where they ultimately became what historians consider the first Baptist church….
Well, what does all of this have to do with the Little Sisters of the Poor?
Read the rest, HERE.
by Dr. W. A. Criswell
Text: John 4:35-38
On the radio and on television, you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Harvesting Souls. It is an exposition of a part of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John. And if you will turn to that fourth gospel, the Gospel of John, and chapter 4, you can easily follow the message of this hour. I shall read verses 31 through verses 38, John 4:31:
“In the mean while His disciples prayed Him saying, Master, eat. But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought Him aught to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold I say unto, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”
Church growth is all the rage. For pastors, the focus is on leadership. For laymen, on “reaching people.” In the church world, church-growth is the standard of success. If a church “reaches people,” and the pastor is a “visionary leader,” then the church will be considered a success. If a church makes it into somebody’s bogus “Fastest Growing Church” list, then the growth frenzy continues with the sheep flocking to check out what innovation has been initiated to reach the masses for Christ.
Personally, I think the Emperor has no clothes.
For at least four reasons, I reject the church-growth and church-health principles taught at almost every pastor’s conference, and expressed in almost every church. Our church will be different, because I reject these principles. Although different will likely mean odd, behind-the-times, and shrinking in size, I go there anyway.
1. I refuse to believe that a “Christian community” will save anyone.
2. I reject all manipulation and aim toward persuasion.
3. I refuse to let my congregation be deceived by good feelings.
4. I reject the church as a program organization over which I am the CEO.
by Ronnie Rogers, pastor
Trinity Baptist Church
Ed.’s note: Pastor Rogers is on sermon research/study sabbatical and will not be responding to comments on this blog post.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”’ (Matthew 28:18-20). (underline and embolden added)
Most often, this passage is referenced in order to emphasize missions and evangelism, and those are indeed vital components; however, the teaching task is often, albeit unwittingly, reduced to a secondary or tertiary status. Additionally, the essentialness of the breadth and depth of the teaching component is often obscured by our words and practice.
by Jim Davis, pastor
Grace Bible Church (SBC)
My name is Jim Davis. I am a Southern Baptist pastor, and I am reformed.